Melanoma of the nasal cavity is a rare type of cancer that occurs when melanocytes, which are the cells that produce the pigment melanin, begin to grow abnormally and form tumors. It can occur in any part of the nasal cavity, including the nasal passages, sinuses, and turbinates.
Diagnosis of melanoma of the nasal cavity can be suspected when an individual presents with symptoms such as a persistent nosebleed, headache, facial swelling, or changes in vision. A biopsy of the tissue is usually necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Differential diagnosis of melanoma of the nasal cavity can include other types of cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and lymphoma. Noncancerous conditions, such as nasal polyps and nasal trauma, can also be mimics of nasal melanoma.
Treatment of melanoma of the nasal cavity often includes surgery to remove the tumor and nearby tissue. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used to reduce the risk of recurrence.
The prognosis of melanoma of the nasal cavity is dependent on the stage of the tumor when it is diagnosed. The five-year survival rate for individuals with localized disease is approximately 92 percent, while the five-year survival rate for individuals with metastatic disease is approximately 15 percent.